Here’s a somewhat unorthodox method of warping a rigid heddle loom. I warp my “big” loom using front to back, most of the time. I usually do a back-to-front warping of the RH loom based on the instructions from Betty Davenport’s book, but for this case, that wasn’t going to work.
I had pre-wound my warp chain without tying the threads together at the top end, so I had to cut the loop there. Now, I knew that was just fine if I were going to warp front to back, so I figured, hey, why not try it on the RH loom? It worked like a charm.
I’m working with Knitpicks Palette sett at 12 epi. This yarn is extremely stretchy but washes up to a lovely soft, thick fabric.
First off, I start off by placing my cross in my hand, just as I would for normal front to back warping.
Then I clamp my rigid heddle to the table to stabilize it and start the threading. I’m threading it for plain weave, so one thread in a slot, the next in a hole, etc. I use a threading hook that came for my loom for this step, though a small crochet hook can be equally effective. Oh, also, I measure from the center before starting to ensure my warp will be centered on the loom.
After I get all the threading done, it looks like this:
At this point, I need to tie all my ends in little bundles. I like to do 1″ bundles so in this case I grab 12 threads and tie them off:
Then I end up with a lovely set of bundles all the way across the warp, alongside a delicious glass of sparkling red wine from Mumm. I can’t remember the exact label, but it was great!
Now it’s time to start getting this thing on the loom. First off, I put the reed on the loom in its neutral position (no open shed).
Then I take each bundle and give it a little tug against the read to create a shed. I use this shed to make an opening to slide the warp bundle onto the back apron rod.
Here you can see all the little bundles threaded onto the dowel to attach them to the back beam.
I then give the warp a little tug from the front side to straighten and smooth everything out, and it’s ready for beaming.
The reed provides some tension as you’re winding on, but I also give the warp a good tug here and there to make sure it’s going on firmly. I also use paper between the layers of warp, but you could use sticks or cardboard for that purpose.
When you get it all wound on, you’re left with the ends at the front of the loom. These really are mostly the same length. Somehow i my picture it looks like they’re quite different, but they should be roughly the same if everything went well. If they’re vastly different, there may be a few causes. I’m not going to go into that troubleshooting right now though.<
Starting in the center, I tie the warp onto the front dowel (apron bar). As I do with front to back warping, I crank the tension one notch tighter for every two bundles I tie on. This helps keep the center from slackening as you work to the outside.
Once all the bundles are tied, I check the tension and adjust as necessary. This is the last step before you get to start weaving!
I use some strips of cotton fabric to weave a header, but you can use waste yarn or pretty much whatever you want to spread the warp. Then I’m all set to go! Here’s my finished product: